La recepció d'Aristòtil en la medicina d'Arnau de Vilanova (c.1240-1311): estudi de les citacions i anàlisi dels continguts en l'obra mèdica autèntica

Student thesis: Doctoral thesis


This study attempts to analyze the quotations of Aristotle in the medical works of Arnau de Vilanova (c. 1240-1311), one of the most important physicians of the Latin Middle Ages. Arnau de Vilanova wrote an extensive medical work which contributed to the establishment of medicine as a science in the scholastic sense of the term. His medical works deals with a wide range of medical literature of the time and included a great variety of classical authors, among them Aristotle. Arnau de Vilanova used Aristotle in at least twelve of his medical works. The works of Theoretical Medicine include a large number of quotations and references to Aristotle, because of the use of Aristotle's Natural Philosophy to develop some medical formulations. Through these examples it seems clear that Arnau de Vilanova knew almost all the Aristotelian corpus, which was translated into Latin in the Medieval Ages and was assimilated into the syllabus of Arts and Philosophy, the Logic and the Natural Philosophy. In addition, Arnau de Vilanova owned two of Aristotle’s works; the posthumous inventory of his possessions made by his executors mentions Aristotle's Ethics and Metaphysics. Both books were used several times to the point that some of its considerations were fully embraced by Arnau. This contributed to the development the nature of medicine and its task as a Knowledge, an Aristotelian scientia in which knowledge is derived from the principles of universal causes to specific effects. This idea should prevail simultaneously with the understanding of medicine as a technique, whereby practice plays an important role in the production of knowledge. On the other hand, when Arnau mentions Aristotle, he seldom uses literal quotes. His paraphrasing method is not necessarily an indication that he had a lesser interest in Aristotle’s literacy of text than in his doctrine, which is used to develop what Arnau aims to discus. Finally, Arnau de Vilanova used Aristotle as an authority, in an attempt to reconcile him with the field of medicine as practiced in his time. In so doing, he defined a new theoretical model of medicine according to the standards of Natural Philosophy, while continuing to emphasize the boundaries of the two disciplines.
Date of Award23 Nov 2015
Original languageCatalan
SupervisorMichael McVaugh (Director), Jaume Mensa Valls (Director) & Sebastia Giralt Soler (Director)

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